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The Weight Band featuring members of The Band & Levon Helm Band
“The Weight Band keep The Band’s flame burning brightly while retaining their own originality.” – Americana UK
Performing original songs as well as classics of The Band, The Weight Band is led by Jim Weider, a 15-year former member of The Band and the Levon Helm Band. The Weight Band originated in 2013 inside the famed Woodstock barn of Levon Helm. Weider was inspired by Helm to carry on the musical legacy of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame group.
On their new album, Shines Like Gold, The Weight Band presents a dynamic set of classic Americana that draws upon roadhouse rock, funky swamp pop, blues, country soul and folk music. Composed of band leader, renowned guitarist Jim Weider (The Band, Levon Helm’s Midnight Ramble Band, Jim Weider Band), keyboardist Brian Mitchell (Levon Helm’s Midnight Ramble Band), bassist Albert Rogers (Jim Weider Band, Jimmy Vivino), drummer Michael Bram (Jason Mraz) and keyboardist Matt Zeiner (Dickey Betts), the veteran quintet shares a deep appreciation and knowledge for this music, which Weider describes as the “Woodstock Sound.” The Weight Band continues to serve as its torchbearer, with Shines Like Gold representing a sublime example of these masterful roots musicians at work.
The Weight Band recorded Shine Like Gold live at Clubhouse Studios in Rhinebeck, NY, over four days – with minimal rehearsal during the height of the pandemic in 2020. Producer Colin Linden, an award-winning musician and Weider’s longtime collaborator and co-writer on several of the album tracks, was in Nashville. The arrangement, however, worked out perfectly, according to Weider. “He had a big hand and footprint on this record. Weider added, “We go back, so there is a comfortableness working with him.”
In 2017, The Weight Band performed on the PBS series Infinity Hall Live. The following year, their self-produced debut, World Gone Mad, was released to strong reviews. Billboard called it “excellent” while Goldmine Magazine hailed World Gone Mad as one of the year’s best indie albums. Most recently, the Weight Band put out Acoustic Live in 2021. This 11-track album features five songs recorded at the Big Pink on October 25, 2019, and six songs recorded the following night in Levon Helm’s barn/studio. Performances include memorable versions of “World Gone Mad,” Dylan’s “Highway 61 Revisited,” Jerry Garcia’s “Deal,” and several Band covers.
The Weight Band’s origins are tied to Woodstock and some of its most famous inhabitants, The Band. Weider, a Woodstock native, served as The Band’s lead guitarist from 1985-2000, following Robbie Robertson’s departure. In the late 00s, he replaced Jimmy Vivino in the Levon Helm Band, which already included Mitchell. The connections extend further, as Rogers shared the stage with Helm and Hudson while in The Jim Weider Band and Bram drummed in the Chris O’Leary Band, an off-shoot of Helm’s band The Barnburners.
Following Helm’s death in 2012, Weider performed a few “Songs of The Band” concerts, which included Vivino, Byron Isaacs, Randy Ciarlante and Garth Hudson. The shows were so well received that Weider started the first version of The Weight Band with Ciarlante, Isaacs, Mitchell, and keyboardist Marty Grebb. Over the next several years, the group shifted from playing mainly Band songs to their originals. Along the way, band membership shifted too. When Isaacs left for the Lumineers, Rogers came aboard. Bram joined the group after Ciarlante’s departure. Following World Gone Mad’s release, Grebb bowed out and Zeiner stepped in.